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On course for wettest January ever in Sussex as experts warn of more to come
Torrential rain and gale force winds are set to make this the wettest January since records began with more transport disruption expected.
This month has already been declared the second wettest January since records began with almost double the average rainfall and there is more on the way over the weekend with high risks of flooding and the threat of 70mph winds.
Mark Heelis, of the Environment Agency, said: “Today and into the weekend we are expecting heavy rainfall, which will continue to raise the threat of flooding to communities in the South East.
“We are monitoring the situation very closely as river and groundwater levels across the South East remain high and responsive, and standing water remains in some flood plains.”
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So far January has seen 177.8mm of rainfall. In January 1988, 197.3mm of rain fell. With 40mm of rain expected in the South East throughout today and tomorrow this month could be the wettest January since records began in 1910.
The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for Brighton and Hove and East and West Sussex. There is a flood warning from the Environment Agency for the river Ouse at Barcombe Mills, near Lewes.
And there are flood alerts in Sussex for the Cuckmere River, the Upper Ouse, Ifield Brook and Gatwick Stream as well as flood alerts for groundwater flooding in West Dean, Singleton, Charlton, East Dean and Chilgrove as well as the Tillingham River and Brede area.
A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “Conditions on the sea and coast are likely to be extremely treacherous.
"Our advice is simple: don’t take risks. But if you do get into difficulty, or spot someone who might be in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard”
The renewed danger on the coast comes just three months after Newhaven teenager Dylan Alkins, 14, went missing, presumed dead, after being swept off the seafront during stormy weather.
The Environment Agency is urging people to avoid driving or walking through flood water as fast-flowing water as shallow as 15cm can be enough to knock someone off their feet.
Darron Burness, head of the AA’s flood rescue team said, “Many simply don’t appreciate the risks of driving into flood water. The biggest risk is water getting sucked into the engine.”
Disruptions to trains are expected with the threat of floods and fallen trees.
Michelle Ulyatt, customer relations manager for Southeastern Trains, said: “We’ll be making every effort to provide the best possible service. We’re advising customers to check before they travel and plan ahead to avoid possible delays.”
Advice for those affected by flooding is available at www.enviroment-agency.com, from Floodline on 08459881188 and by using #floodaware on Twitter.